People don’t just make Land A harsh new study finds that it warms the atmosphere, making the climate chaotic.
The new research published April 21 in the preprint database arXiv (Opens in a new tab), paints a broad and general picture of the full potential impact of human activity on climate. And the picture is not pretty.
Although the study does not provide a complete simulation of a climate model, it does paint a broad diagram of where we would go if we did not specify Climate change And our uncontrolled use of fossil fuels, according to study authors and scientists in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Porto in Portugal. .
“The implications of climate change (droughts, heat waves, extreme events, etc.) are well known,” study researcher Orfeu Bertolami told Live Science in an email. “If the Earth System enters the Chaotic Behavior Zone, we will lose all hope of somehow solving the problem.”
The Earth periodically undergoes massive changes in its climate patterns, as it moves from one stable equilibrium to another. These shifts are usually driven by external factors such as changes in Earth’s orbit or a dramatic rise in volcanic activity. But previous research suggests that we are now entering a new phase, one driven by human activity. Where people pump more carbon In the atmosphere, we are creating a new Anthropocene, a period of human-influenced climate systems, something our planet has never seen before.
In the new study, the researchers modeled the introduction of the Anthropocene as a transitional phase. Most people are familiar with phase transitions in materials, for example when an ice cube changes phase from a solid to a liquid by dissolving in water, or when water evaporates into a gas. But phase transitions also occur in other systems. In this case, the system is the Earth’s climate. A certain climate provides a regular and predictable regime seasons and weather, and the phase transition in climate leads to a new pattern of seasons and weather. When the climate is in transition, it means that the Earth is experiencing a sudden and rapid change in patterns.
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If human activity is driving a transition in Earth’s climate, then we are causing the planet to develop a new set of weather patterns. What these patterns will look like is one of the most pressing problems in climate science.
Where is the Earth’s climate headed? This largely depends on what exactly we are doing over the next few decades. Significantly reducing carbon production, for example, would produce results different from changing nothing at all, the researchers wrote in the study.
To calculate the different paths and choices humanity could take, researchers used a Athlete A tool called logistics map. A logistic map is great for describing situations in which certain variables – such as the amount of carbon in the atmosphere – can grow but naturally reach a certain limit. For example, scientists often use a logistic map to describe groups of animals: animals can continue to give birth, increase their numbers, but reach a maximum when they have consumed all the food in their environment (or their predators are very hungry and consume it).
Our impact on the environment is definitely increasing, and it has been for over a century. But it will naturally come to an end, according to the researchers. For example, a population can grow very large and can only have many carbon-emitting activities; Pollution will eventually lead to environmental degradation. At some point in the future, carbon output will reach a maximum, and the researchers found that the logistic map can capture the future path of carbon output very well.
Everything is a mess
Researchers have explored different ways in which the human logistics map can evolve, depending on a variety of factors such as our population, the introduction of carbon reduction strategies and better and more efficient technologies. Once they discovered how human carbon production might evolve over time, they used that to study how Earth’s climate evolved through human-driven phase transition.
In the best case, once humanity has reached its maximum carbon production, Earth’s climate will stabilize at a new, higher average temperature. This high temperature is generally considered harmful to humans, as it continues to lead to sea level rise and more extreme weather events. But it is at least stable: the Anthropocene is similar to earlier climatic ages, but much warmer, and will still have regular, recurring weather patterns.
But in the worst case scenario, researchers have found that the Earth’s climate leads to chaos. A true sporting mess. In a chaotic system, there is no equilibrium and no repeatable patterns. A chaotic climate will have seasons that change dramatically from decade to decade (or even year to year). Some years may see sudden flashes of severe weather, while others will be completely calm. Even the Earth’s average temperature can fluctuate greatly, swinging from colder to hotter periods in relatively short periods of time. It will become completely impossible to tell in which direction the Earth’s climate is heading.
“The chaotic behavior means that it will be impossible to predict the behavior of the Earth system in the future even if we know with great certainty its current state,” Bertolami said. “It would mean that any ability to control the Earth’s system and lead it toward a state of equilibrium that favors the habitability of the biosphere will be lost.”
Most alarmingly, the researchers found that above a certain critical temperature of Earth’s atmosphere, a feedback cycle can begin where a chaotic outcome becomes inevitable. There are some signs that we are already past this tipping point, but it is not too late to avert climate catastrophe.
Originally published on Live Science.
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